Brother and the Beast – Little Devil on the Felt Bible Story

Brother and the Beast

Today, I thought I’d share something a little different than my usual craft posts. Something about me and my big brother Vito.

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I love my brother. He is nine years my senior, is like a second father, and is one of the best educators in academia and life that I could have asked for growing up or even now in adulthood. His example helped shape a more positive character in me. I even have him to thank for sparking the beginnings of my endlessly self-entertaining nerd-side: where smart and creative crash together into a motley fusion of eccentric goo. Glorious, glorious goo!

With an influence such as this, why then, one might ask, did I turn out to be such a terror? A fair question, especially if you have had the fortune to meet him and the misfortune to meet me! *wiggles eyebrows and smirks*

To be honest, I know that a lot of the lessons from my brother have been learned from trial and error as much as from his example or direct instruction. As an illustration of this rapscallion behavior in the face of his virtuous efforts let us reminisce back a little over thirty years before I reached my first birthday. (Cue twirly time-travel music here!)

Little Devil on the Felt Bible Story

It is a typical evening in our household. My mother is doing her customary mom-things in the kitchen, which usually involved something smelling delicious. My father is on an interstate trip driving his semi on a long-distance delivery. My brother Vito is quietly entertaining himself with his chosen task. And there I am…lurking just out of reach, closely watching and waiting.

I should be minding my own business with my toys, but something my brother is doing has gotten my attention. With a cloth-covered board set up before him on the floor, he is carefully selecting and arranging the felt bible figures and structures for the story he wants to tell me. I love when my brother tells me stories! And seeing the colorful robed characters and foliage he is laying out have ensnared my imagination, only adding to the building excitement.

Vito is calm and meticulous picking the characters for each part of the story. I inch closer, eying the colors of figures as they are placed on the board…those pretty colors. It must be a good story if it has that many bright colors in it. Why isn’t he ready yet?

He picks up the felt Jesus. My eyes widen and I practically vibrate with delighted eagerness. I love that character! He had superpowers! A few more inches close between us as I silently pad forward, stalking just out of sight. If Vito didn’t hurry I was going to start that story without him!

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Little by little he lays down each part of the scene, a story I likely had not heard yet. This one involved so many characters they fill the little board from end to end. What was going to happen? Why is he so quiet?! I virtually twitch with the need to be at the board. To feel the smooth felt between my little chubby fingers. To be part of this experience. To know the tale that brings him such peaceful command.

 

I can’t take it anymore! If he can’t share the story with me, I won’t let him have it either! Forgetting that the story was for me in the first place, I charge forward as fast as my chunky, wobbly legs could carry me. And plop! My little diapered butt thumps down onto the board, and the felt pieces scatter as I flail about.

“Diana!” my brother appropriately whined. His displeasure makes my victory all the better. “Mom, she’s ruining the story.”

“Bwahahahah!” I cackle, although, in reality this sounds more like a giggle. Hey, what’s happening? I feel myself lifted into the air, and I look up to see my mother’s disapproving gaze on me. No! My victory!

She sets me down and I immediately try repeating my charge for the board. No luck. Snatching me up again, she gives me a sound swat on the behind, putting me back in my place, both literally and figuratively. I got spanked? Spanked? Me?! But…I’m the baby! “No, Diana,” her voice as stern as her expression. “Don’t ruin his work. You stay there until he is ready to tell you the story.”

It was a swift reminder that the story was supposed to be for me in the first place. I grumble and pout at not being allowed to move, but I at least calmed enough to remember to wait for the good stuff.

Lessons From Vito

Vito could have retaliated. He was a child after all. He could have refused to tell me a new story of super-powered Jesus. He was in his rights to be upset after my actions. But he didn’t. He let the authority of our household handle the situation, understood that I had much to learn, and still treated me to a story. And just like that, he indirectly taught me one of my first lessons in structure and compassion.

It wasn’t my first misdeed against my brother, and it certainly wouldn’t be my last. But I know I’m lucky to have him.

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